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  • FIRST POST
    • andreihoff
    • By andreihoff 5th Sep 17, 1:44 PM
    • 21Posts
    • 17Thanks
    andreihoff
    One Parking Solution POPLA Appeal
    • #1
    • 5th Sep 17, 1:44 PM
    One Parking Solution POPLA Appeal 5th Sep 17 at 1:44 PM
    Hello!
    Second time I've had to deal with these people, previously known as "Ethical Parking Management". Last time the property manager was willing to intervene, this time they don't seem to care.
    The driver stopped the car to unload furniture into his flat on 21/08, the hazard lights were on to indicate this; some of the pictures have been doctored - made black&white - to hide the lights. Within minutes there was a slip in the windscreen saying your charge will arrive in the post - this happened while the driver was unloading furniture. I am the registered keeper and I got the NTK through the post on 25/08. I appealed online using the template from the Newbies sticky (haven't identified the driver) and am waiting for a POPLA code. In the meantime I've drafted a POPLA appeal to give me enough time to write a solid one. Please let me know what you think!

    1. The signs in this car park are not prominent, clear or legible from all parking spaces and there is insufficient notice of the sum of the parking charge itself

    There was no contract nor agreement on the 'parking charge' at all. It is submitted that the driver did not have a fair opportunity to read about any terms involving this huge charge, which is out of all proportion and not saved by the dissimilar 'ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis' case.

    In the Beavis case, which turned on specific facts relating only to the signs at that site and the unique interests and intentions of the landowners, the signs were unusually clear and not a typical example for this notorious industry. The Supreme Court were keen to point out the decision related to that car park and those facts only:

    link

    In the Beavis case, the £85 charge itself was in the largest font size with a contrasting colour background and the terms were legible, fairly concise and unambiguous. There were 'large lettering' signs at the entrance and all around the car park, according to the Judges.

    Here is the 'Beavis case' sign as a comparison to the signs under dispute in this case:

    link

    This case, by comparison, does not demonstrate an example of the 'large lettering' and 'prominent signage' that impressed the Supreme Court Judges and swayed them into deciding that in the specific car park in the Beavis case alone, a contract and 'agreement on the charge' existed.

    Here, the signs are sporadically placed, indeed obscured and hidden in some areas. They are unremarkable, not immediately obvious as parking terms and the wording is mostly illegible, being crowded and cluttered with a lack of white space as a background. It is indisputable that placing letters too close together in order to fit more information into a smaller space can drastically reduce the legibility of a sign, especially one which must be read BEFORE the action of parking and leaving the car.

    It is vital to observe, since 'adequate notice of the parking charge' is mandatory under the POFA Schedule 4 and the BPA Code of Practice, these signs do not clearly mention the parking charge which is hidden in small print (and does not feature at all on some of the signs). Areas of this site are unsigned and there are no full terms displayed - i.e. with the sum of the parking charge itself in large lettering - at the entrance either, so it cannot be assumed that a driver drove past and could read a legible sign, nor parked near one.

    This case is more similar to the signage in POPLA decision 5960956830 on 2.6.16, where the Assessor Rochelle Merritt found as fact that signs in a similar size font in a busy car park where other unrelated signs were far larger, was inadequate:

    ''the signage is not of a good enough size to afford motorists the chance to read and understand the terms and conditions before deciding to remain in the car park. [...] In addition the operators signs would not be clearly visible from a parking space [...] The appellant has raised other grounds for appeal but I have not dealt with these as I have allowed the appeal.''

    From the evidence I have seen so far, the terms appear to be displayed inadequately, in letters no more than about half an inch high, approximately. I put the operator to strict proof as to the size of the wording on their signs and the size of lettering for the most onerous term, the parking charge itself.

    The letters seem to be no larger than .40 font size going by this guide:

    link

    As further evidence that this is inadequate notice, Letter Height Visibility is discussed here:

    link

    ''When designing your sign, consider how you will be using it, as well as how far away the readers you want to impact will be. For example, if you are placing a sales advertisement inside your retail store, your text only needs to be visible to the people in the store. 1-2” letters (or smaller) would work just fine. However, if you are hanging banners and want drivers on a nearby highway to be able to see them, design your letters at 3” or even larger.''

    ...and the same chart is reproduced here:

    link

    ''When designing an outdoor sign for your business keep in mind the readability of the letters. Letters always look smaller when mounted high onto an outdoor wall''.

    ''...a guideline for selecting sign letters. Multiply the letter height by 10 and that is the best viewing distance in feet. Multiply the best viewing distance by 4 and that is the max viewing distance.''

    So, a letter height of just half an inch, showing the terms and the 'charge' and placed high on a wall or pole or buried in far too crowded small print, is woefully inadequate in an outdoor car park. Given that letters look smaller when high up on a wall or pole, as the angle renders the words less readable due to the perspective and height, you would have to stand right in front of it and still need a stepladder (and perhaps a torch and/or magnifying glass) to be able to read the terms.

    Under Lord Denning's Red Hand Rule, the charge (being 'out of all proportion' with expectations of drivers in this car park and which is the most onerous of terms) should have been effectively: 'in red letters with a red hand pointing to it' - i.e. VERY clear and prominent with the terms in large lettering, as was found to be the case in the car park in 'Beavis'. A reasonable interpretation of the 'red hand rule' and the 'signage visibility distance' tables above and the BPA Code of Practice, taking all information into account, would require a parking charge and the terms to be displayed far more transparently, on a lower sign and in far larger lettering, with fewer words and more 'white space' as background contrast. Indeed in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 there is a 'Requirement for transparency':

    (1) A trader must ensure that a written term of a consumer contract, or a consumer notice in writing, is transparent.
    (2) A consumer notice is transparent for the purposes of subsection (1) if it is expressed in plain and intelligible language and it is legible.

    The Beavis case signs not being similar to the signs in this appeal at all, I submit that the persuasive case law is in fact 'Vine v London Borough of Waltham Forest [2000] EWCA Civ 106' about a driver not seeing the terms and consequently, she was NOT deemed bound by them.

    This judgment is binding case law from the Court of Appeal and supports my argument, not the operator's case:

    link

    This was a victory for the motorist and found that, where terms on a sign are not seen and the area is not clearly marked/signed with prominent terms, the driver has not consented to - and cannot have 'breached' - an unknown contract because there is no contract capable of being established. The driver in that case (who had not seen any signs/lines) had NOT entered into a contract. The recorder made a clear finding of fact that the plaintiff, Miss Vine, did not see a sign because the area was not clearly marked as 'private land' and the signs were obscured/not adjacent to the car and could not have been seen and read from a driver's seat before parking.

    So, for this appeal, I put this operator to strict proof of where the car was parked and (from photos taken in the same lighting conditions) how their signs appeared on that date, at that time, from the angle of the driver's perspective. Equally, I require this operator to show how the entrance signs appear from a driver's seat, not stock examples of 'the sign' in isolation/close-up. I submit that full terms simply cannot be read from a car before parking and mere 'stock examples' of close-ups of the (alleged) signage terms will not be sufficient to disprove this.

    2. This charge is incompatible with the rights under the lease - as decided by the Appeal case of 'JOPSON V HOME GUARD SERVICES' case number: B9GF0A9E on 29th June 2016, which also held that the Beavis case does not apply to this sort of car park.

    In Beavis it was held that the purpose of a parking charge must not be to penalise drivers. Justification must depend on some other 'legitimate interest in performance extending beyond the prospect of pecuniary compensation flowing directly from the breach in question'. The true test was held to be 'whether the impugned provision is a secondary obligation which imposes a detriment on the contract-breaker out of all proportion to any legitimate interest [...] in the enforcement of the primary obligation'.

    There can be no legitimate interest in punishing authorised loading/unloading, under the excuse of a 'parking' scheme where ostensibly - and as far as the landowner is concerned - the parking firm is contracted for the benefit of the leaseholders/landholders/tenants. It is unconscionable, contrary to the requirement of good faith and 'out of all proportion to any legitimate interest' to issue a parking penalty for permitted unloading/loading by a driver who has legitimate business and rights to do so.

    These rights supersede any signs, which are of no consequence except to deter rogue unwanted drivers from leaving their vehicles when they have no business on site. This is true of any residential or business car park where tenants/leaseholders (who may be individuals or businesses) enjoy legal 'rights of way' which extend to drivers permitted to load/unload. A third party cannot unilaterally alter the terms of a tenancy agreement or a lease, nor disregard easements and rights of way that prevail in such car parks (residential or industrial).

    This question was tested recently in an Appeal case in June 2016 (transcript attached as evidence for POPLA*). Please note this is an Appeal case, decided by a Senior Circuit Judge and as such, its findings on the definition of 'parking as opposed to loading' and the findings on leaseholder/permitted visitor/loading/delivering rights of way superseding parking signs, are persuasive on the lower courts.

    Beavis did not deal with any of these matters - nor was it relevant to a 'permit' car park - but the following case and transcript I have provided, is relevant and the Judge even states that Beavis DOES NOT APPLY to this type of car park:

    Appeal case at Oxford County Court, 'JOPSON V HOME GUARD SERVICES' case number: B9GF0A9E on 29th June 2016:

    Sitting in Oxford County Court, Judge Charles Harris QC, found that Home Guard Services had acted unreasonably when issuing a penalty charge notice to Miss Jopson, a resident of a block of flats who parked in front of the communal entrance to unload furniture, rather than use her own parking space. After an initial appeal to the Independent Parking Committee was rejected, Home Guard Services sued Miss Jopson in the small claims court and won. Miss Jopson successfully appealed the case, her solicitors arguing that the charge was incompatible with the terms of the existing lease which also extended to certain rights for permitted visitors when loading/unloading. The Judge found that Laura Jopson and her fellow tenants (as well as people making deliveries or those dropping off children or disabled passengers) enjoy a right of way to the block’s entrance and that Home Guard Services’ regulations disregarded these rights. Home Guard Services were required to pay £2,000 towards the defendant's costs.

    I also rely upon the Croydon Court decision in Pace Recovery and Storage v Mr N C6GF14F0 16/09/2016 (transcript attached as evidence for POPLA**).

    District Judge Coonan dismissed the claim and refused leave to appeal, stating: ''I have to deal with this on the evidence that is before me now. I have before me a tenancy agreement which gives Mr [N. redacted] the right to park on the estate and it does not say “on condition that you display a permit”. It does not say that, so he has that right. What Pace Recovery is seeking to do is, unilaterally outside the contract, restrict that right to only when a permit is displayed. Pace Recovery cannot do that. It has got to be the other contracting party, Affinity Sutton, which amends the terms of the tenancy agreement to restrict the right to park on a place in circumstances in which a permit is displayed but that is not in this tenancy agreement and you as a third party cannot unilaterally alter the terms of the tenancy agreement.''

    3. No evidence of Landowner Authority - the operator is put to strict proof of full compliance with the BPA Code of Practice

    As this operator does not have proprietary interest in the land then I require that they produce an unredacted copy of the contract with the landowner. The contract and any 'site agreement' or 'User Manual' setting out details including exemptions - such as any 'genuine customer' or 'genuine resident' exemptions or any site occupier's 'right of veto' charge cancellation rights - is key evidence to define what this operator is authorised to do and any circumstances where the landowner/firms on site in fact have a right to cancellation of a charge. It cannot be assumed, just because an agent is contracted to merely put some signs up and issue Parking Charge Notices, that the agent is also authorised to make contracts with all or any category of visiting drivers and/or to enforce the charge in court in their own name (legal action regarding land use disputes generally being a matter for a landowner only).

    Witness statements are not sound evidence of the above, often being pre-signed, generic documents not even identifying the case in hand or even the site rules. A witness statement might in some cases be accepted by POPLA but in this case I suggest it is unlikely to sufficiently evidence the definition of the services provided by each party to the agreement.

    Nor would it define vital information such as charging days/times, any exemption clauses, grace periods (which I believe may be longer than the bare minimum times set out in the BPA CoP) and basic information such as the land boundary and bays where enforcement applies/does not apply. Not forgetting evidence of the various restrictions which the landowner has authorised can give rise to a charge and of course, how much the landowner authorises this agent to charge (which cannot be assumed to be the sum in small print on a sign because template private parking terms and sums have been known not to match the actual landowner agreement).

    Paragraph 7 of the BPA CoP defines the mandatory requirements and I put this operator to strict proof of full compliance:

    7.2 If the operator wishes to take legal action on any outstanding parking charges, they must ensure that they have the written authority of the landowner (or their appointed agent) prior to legal action being taken.

    7.3 The written authorisation must also set out:

    a the definition of the land on which you may operate, so that the boundaries of the land can be clearly defined

    b any conditions or restrictions on parking control and enforcement operations, including any restrictions on hours of operation

    c any conditions or restrictions on the types of vehicles that may, or may not, be subject to parking control and enforcement

    d who has the responsibility for putting up and maintaining signs

    e the definition of the services provided by each party to the agreement

    4. This charge is unconscionable and offends against the penalty rule which was 'plainly engaged' in the case of ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis

    The operator makes much of the Beavis case, yet they are well aware that the circumstances of the Beavis case were entirely different. Essentially, that case was about the abuse of a free, time-limited public car park where signage could be used to create a secondary contract arising from a relevant obligation and where there was a 'legitimate interest' flowing from the landowner, in charging more than could normally be pursued for trespass.

    In this case, we have an authorised user using the car park appropriately and there has been no loss nor detriment caused to the owner. While the courts might hold that a large charge might be appropriate in the case of a public car park, essentially as a deterrent, there is nothing in the case to suggest that a reasonable person would accept that this 'fine' is a conscionable amount to be charged under these circumstances.

    At the Supreme Court in Beavis, it was held at 14: ''…where a contract contains an obligation on one party to perform an act, and also provides that, if he does not perform it, he will pay the other party a specified sum of money, the obligation to pay the specified sum is a secondary obligation which is capable of being a penalty… ''

    This is NOT a 'more complex' case by any stretch of the imagination. At 32 in the Beavis decision, it was held that a trader, in this case a parking company: ''...can have no proper interest in simply punishing the defaulter. His interest is in performance or in some appropriate alternative to performance. In the case of a straightforward damages clause, that interest will rarely extend beyond compensation for the breach, and we therefore expect that Lord Dunedin’s four tests would usually be perfectly adequate to determine its validity.''

    Therefore, any putative contract needs to be assessed on its own merits. Consumer law always applies and no contract “falls outside” The Consumer Rights Act 2015; the fundamental question is always whether the terms are fair:

    link

    - Schedule 2: 'Consumer contract terms which may be regarded as unfair':
    ’’A term which has the object or effect of inappropriately excluding or limiting the legal rights of the consumer in relation to the trader or another party in the event of total or partial non-performance or inadequate performance by the trader of any of the contractual obligations…’’
    ''A term which has the object or effect of requiring a consumer who fails to fulfil his obligations under the contract to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation.''

    This charge is clearly punitive and is not saved from breaching the 'penalty rule' (i.e. Lord Dunedin's four tests for a penalty) by the Beavis case, which does NOT supersede other defences. It turned on completely different facts and related only to that car park with its own unique complexity of commercial justification. This case is not comparable.

    In this case the specific question is whether a reasonable person would agree to a term where parking in a place that they enjoy rights of way and easements and pay a significant rent for the privilege of peaceful enjoyment would also accept a further unknown/not agreed liability. I would suggest that a court would not accept this is reasonable and indeed my next appeal point shows that a Senior Circuit Judge in a 2016 appeal case supports my view.
    Last edited by andreihoff; 05-09-2017 at 1:48 PM.
Page 2
    • andreihoff
    • By andreihoff 30th Sep 17, 9:59 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    andreihoff
    Oops, my mistake. Of course the word should be perspective, not prospective.

    Originally posted by KeithP
    Completely missed that one!
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 30th Sep 17, 10:00 PM
    • 50,577 Posts
    • 63,953 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    driver's perspective
    PRIVATE PCN? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT TWO Clicks needed for advice:
    Top of the page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    Advice to ignore is WRONG, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • andreihoff
    • By andreihoff 30th Sep 17, 10:11 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    andreihoff
    Draft 2.0:

    Please find my rebuttal below:
    1. Landowner Contract has multiple flaws. Please see the following:
    a. Page 1:
    i. The first page is neither initialled nor dated
    ii. Contact listed on page is a property manager and not the landowner
    b. Page 2
    i. The contract has no specified end date which is against BPA CoP.
    ii. The specified customer at point 1 is a property manager and not the landowner therefore there is no contract with the landowner.
    iii. There is no location listed under ‘location’
    c. Page 5
    i. Contract signed by an unknown third party as opposed to the contact identified on page 1 and page 2.
    2. Notice to keeper isn’t POFA compliant because of the following:
    a. Time listed under useful information on page 2 i.e. “within 28 days of this notice”
    b. The statement “on the assumption that the keeper was the driver”. There is no lawful presumption
    c. Notice to keeper and OPS summary are in disagreement as summary states “seeking keeper liability”
    3. Picture of parking notice is not a real picture of a notice from the site. The picture of the sign labelled ‘OPS Sign’ is a picture of what appears to be their sign in pristine condition taken as a close up under ideal lighting on what looks like a wooden desk. There are no pictures provided of any signs at the site of the alleged parking contravention. The font is too small to be legible from the driver’s perspective. The signs OPS use at the *** site are few and far between in poor condition and hidden from view. The burden of proof is on the operator to provide clear and up to date pictures of signs at the site.
    4. Photo evidence is clearly doctored. See picture ‘815180-OPS61467’ and ‘815182-OPS61467’. These images have been doctored to be black and white to hide the flashing hazard lights.
    • andreihoff
    • By andreihoff 5th Oct 17, 3:20 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    andreihoff
    I won!

    DecisionSuccessful
    Assessor Name
    Assessor summary of operator case
    The operator issued a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) to the appellant due to failure to park within a marked bay.

    Assessor summary of your case
    The appellant has raised a number of grounds for appeal these are: The signs in this car park are not prominent, clear or legible from all parking spaces and there is insufficient notice of the sum of the parking charge itself. There is also no entry sign visible when entering the street. This charge is incompatible with the rights under the lease - as decided by the Appeal case of 'JOPSON V HOME GUARD SERVICES' case number: B9GF0A9E on 29th June 2016, which also held that the Beavis case does not apply to this sort of car park. The driver was simply unloading furniture into his flat which is not considered parking. No evidence of Landowner Authority - the operator is put to strict proof of full compliance with the British parking Association (BPA) Code of Practice. This charge is unconscionable and offends against the penalty rule which was 'plainly engaged' in the case of ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis. The operator has not shown that the individual who it is pursuing is in fact the driver who may have been potentially liable for the charge. They believe that the contract One Parking have, allows for unloading if the hazard lights were on, and the driver assures you that they were. One Parking are put to strict proof that (i) the hazard lights were not on, and (ii) that the contract with the landowner, shown in its entirety, does not in fact have the common clause found in their 'contracts' that states a car is exempt if loading/unloading with hazard lights on. If One Parking Solutions want to make use of the Keeper Liability provisions in Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act (POFA) 2012 and One Parking Solutions have not issued and delivered a parking charge notice to the driver in the place where the parking event took place. The Notice to Keeper must meet the strict requirements and timetable set out in the Schedule (in particular paragraph 9). I have had no evidence that OPS have complied with these BPA Code requirements for Notice to Keeper so require them to evidence their compliance to POPLA. They would also bring into question the authenticity of the photographs taken of the vehicle – most notably the time stamps and the black and white photos. By close examination of the photographs, they are added as an overlay on-top of the photos in the lower left hand corner. It is well within the realms of possibility for even an amateur to use free photo-editing Software to add these with authentic looking Meta data. Not only is this possible, but this practice has even been in use by UKPC, who were banned by the DVLA after it emerged.

    Assessor supporting rational for decision
    The operator has issued a PCN due to failure to park within a marked bay. After reviewing the evidence provided by both parties, I am not satisfied that, the appellant has been identified as the driver of the vehicle at the time of the relevant parking event. The operator is therefore pursuing the appellant as the registered keeper of the vehicle in this instance. For the operator to transfer liability for unpaid parking charges from the driver of the vehicle, to the registered keeper of the vehicle, the regulations laid out in POFA 2012 must be adhered to. The operator has provided me with a copy of the Notice to Keeper sent to the appellant. As the Driver of the vehicle has not been identified, the Notice to Keeper will need to comply with section 9 of POFA 2012. I have reviewed the Notice to Keeper against the relevant sections of POFA 2012 and I am not satisfied that it is compliant. Section 9 (2) advises that the notice must: (f) warn the keeper that if, after the period of 28 days beginning with the day after that on which the notice is given— (i) the amount of the unpaid parking charges specified under paragraph (d) has not been paid in full, and (ii) the creditor does not know both the name of the driver and a current address for service for the driver, The creditor will (if all the applicable conditions under this Schedule are met) have the right to recover from the keeper so much of that amount as remains unpaid; From the evidence provided to me, I can see that the Notice to Keeper states, “As the registered keeper of the vehicle, you are now invited to pay the unpaid parking charge or, if you were not the driver of the vehicle, to notify us (in writing using the form overleaf) of the name of the driver and a valid current address of service for the driver and pass this notice on to the driver. Should the registered keeper provide either an unserviceable name and/or address of the driver and/or the driver denies they were in charge of the vehicle at the time of the event, we may pursue the registered keeper for payment for this parking charge with reasonable assumption that the keeper was the driver at the time of event”. However, I am not satisfied that this meets the requirements as detailed by section 9 (f) of the PoFA 2012. As such, I am unable to confirm whether the operator issued the Notice to Keeper correctly.
    Last edited by andreihoff; 05-10-2017 at 4:19 PM.
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